Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) metabolizes many important drugs. CYP2D6 activity ranges from complete deficiency to ultrafast metabolism, depending on at least 16 different known alleles. Their frequencies were determined in 589 unrelated German volunteers and correlated with enzyme activity measured by phenotyping with dextromethorphan or debrisoquine. For genotyping, nested PCR-RFLP tests from a PCR amplificate of the entire CYP2D6 gene were developed. The frequency of the CYP2D6*1 allele coding for extensive metabolizer (EM) phenotype was .364. The alleles coding for slightly (CYP2D6*2) or moderately (*9 and *10) reduced activity (intermediate metabolizer phenotype [IM]) showed frequencies of .324, .018, and .015, respectively. By use of novel PCR tests for discrimination, CYP2D6 gene duplication alleles were found with frequencies of .005 (*1x2), .013 (*2x2), and .001 (*4x2). Frequencies of alleles with complete deficiency (poor metabolizer phenotype [PM]) were .207 (*4), .020 (*3 and *5), .009 (*6), and .001 (*7, *15, and *16). The defective CYP2D6 alleles *8, *11, *12, *13, and *14 were not found. All 41 PMs (7.0%) in this sample were explained by five mutations detected by four PCR-RFLP tests, which may suffice, together with the gene duplication test, for clinical prediction of CYP2D6 capacity. Three novel variants of known CYP2D6 alleles were discovered: *1C (T1957C), *2B (additional C2558T), and *4E (additional C2938T). Analysis of variance showed significant differences in enzymatic activity measured by the dextromethorphan metabolic ratio (MR) between carriers of EM/PM (mean MR = .006) and IM/PM (mean MR = .014) alleles and between carriers of one (mean MR = .009) and two (mean MR = .003) functional alleles. The results of this study provide a solid basis for prediction of CYP2D6 capacity, as required in drug research and routine drug treatment.